They showed this on American Experience a couple of years ago and found it very interesting. It is called Riding the Rails and is about teens that rode rail cars during the Great Depression. Some were running away from abusive homes, some looking for work but I was suprised at how many were riding just for the adventure. Below is a preview of the program but if you want to see the whole program click on http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexpe.../rails/player/
“When you're in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, 'Damn, that was fun'.”
― Groucho Marx
My Grandfather started riding the rails as a hobo at a very young age, back in the 20's, going as far south as Texas and as far west as Iowa from his home in Ohio. One day, his mother asked him to go out to the baker and bring back a loaf of bread. Six months later, he returned, with a loaf of bread under his arm. He’d been on the bum for all that time. He’d found work down in Texas, picking cotton and worked six days a week. Another time, he rode the rails as far west as Sioux City, Iowa with a pal of his. Between the two of them, they had just enough money to by two hotdogs and a bottle of soda pop and barely made it back to the train in time before it pulled out. He told me that he used to love riding on the coupling that connected two train cars together. He would straddle the coupling face down, with his arms and legs hanging down, watching the millions of railroad ties going by in a blur a few feet below, before he fell asleep. I’ve oftentimes wondered how easy it would have been for him to fall off the coupling and get ground up into hamburger meat, thus eliminating three generations worth of descendants, including myself, before they were ever born.
"Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"
My grandfather ran away from home at 16 and made his way working as a field hand and riding bulls in rodeos. He rode the rails from place he place. He became fascinated by the railroads and went to work for the Frisco. When he retired he carried a master card as a machinist, mechanic and an operating engineer. He use to say he was the last man in america that could make the parts to a stem locomotive, put it together and drive it out the door.